Belvadine Reeves Lecher, 98, of Chadron, NE. died peacefully at Heritage Estates in Gering, NE on April 13, 2020. A memorial service will be held on July 21, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church in Chadron, NE. at 2:00 p.m. Memorials may be given in her memory to Chadron First United Methodist Church, The Dawes County Historical Society, or the organization of your choice. Chamberlain Funeral Chapel in Chadron is in charge of the services.
Belvadine Reeves was born November 14, 1921, on her parents farm near Plainview, NE. She was the third child born to Robert Ancil and Myrtle I. (Rodgers) Reeves, of Scotch/Irish and English ancestry. She attended country school in Pierce and Antelope counties until her parents moved to rural Gordon, Ne, in 1932. Graduating in 1938, as Salutatorian of her class, she received a scholarship to Chadron State college, but it was depression times and the family could not afford to send her there. She went to work for a local lawyer. When she reached age 18, she was hired by Western Public Service Company (Consumer Public Power, later NPPD) , as Cashier/Bookkeeper, and continued with Consumers Public Power, moving to the Chadron office.
Belvadine married Raymond R. Lecher, who was also employed at Consumers Public Power, on June 6, 1943. During her husband's deployment in the Navy, she spent three months living in Providence, Rhode Island, where Ray was stationed at Quonset Point RI. When he was deployed overseas she moved back to her parents home in Gordon. Their oldest daughter, Krissa, was born in the fall of 1944. On Ray's separation from the service in October of 1945, the family moved to Crawford, Ne, where Ray continued his employment with Consumers Public Power. Another daughter, Pamela and son Kim joined the family in 1947 and 1950.
Belvadine took the position of Receptionist/Cashier/Bookkeeper a the Crawford Hospital, that was operated by the Lutheran Hospital and Homes Society of Fargo, North Dakota, in 1953 on a part time basis, but soon moved into the full-time position. She accepted the position of Administrator of the hospital in 1962, having completed a course in hospital administration from the University of St. Louis, MO. Her husband was transferred to the power plant in Chadron in 1960, and the family moved to Chadron. Belle commuted to Crawford for the next ten years. spending four months in 1970 at the home office in Fargo. She was offered another position as hospital administrator in New Mexico, but chose to return to Chadron where she took a position with Ross Transfer in Chadron, as a Rate/Auditor, a position which she held until 1988, when she retired.
Through the years, Belle has been active in the Methodist Church, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, the Women's Society and chairing various committees, including the History and Record Committee of the Chadron church for many years. She became a member of the Dawes County Historical Society when they moved to Chadron, and has been actively associated with the museum, having served as President and Vice President for several years, and Director of the museum from 1991 to 2008. She edited the Newsletter for the society and the Golden Age courier for many years. She was instrumental in the publishing of the Diaries of Billy the Bear Iaeger in 1990, a primary source of information about Chadron and this area. She resigned as Director of the museum in 2008, but continued to be the research/membership chairman, and an active volunteer until 2017.
Belle was always interested in History and Genealogy research, and has been an active member of the Northwest Genealogy Society, and the Nebraska Genealogy Societies, since their inception. She belonged to the Bristol/Avon Genealogy Society, of Bristol, England, and made two trips to England, Scotland and Ireland with her two sisters and two cousins to seek out relatives, which she accomplished. She was able to visit the homes of her great grandparents, and made a side trip to Germany as well. She was the family historian, keeping in touch with each branch of the family.
She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, VFW Auxiliary, and was active in Chadron's Business and Professional Women's organization. Her involvement in the American Cancer Society dates back many years. She is a breast cancer survivor of more than 56 years. Other community service activities include working in Adult Basic Education, Habitat for Humanity, the Visitors committee of the Chadron Chamber of Commerce, and Chadron's Caring and Sharing
Belvadine received a Community Service Award from the local Rotary International in 1985, the Ak Sar Ben good Neighbor citation, 1994, Woman of the Year from the Chadron's Business and Professional Women's Club in 1996, Citizen of the Year from the Chadron Record in 2008. She has been listed in Who's Who of American Women" since 2000. She was and active member of DAR and would have been a member for 50 years in June of 2020. She was honored in May 2017 for 30 years as a volunteer by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
A lover of animals, and especially cats, her home was never without a few strays that seemed to know who would take them in and nurture them. She is survived by her children Krissa (John) Randall of Gering, NE, Pamela (Dan) Hersh of Ord, NE, and Kim Lecher and friend Karen Hansen of Hastings, NE., five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, three sisters and one brother. Her mother-in-law and father-law and numerous family members.